In my last post, I talked about our five couple dinner group that’s been together for many years. Part of the reason that the group has been so successful in maintaining the five times per year joint dinner parties is that the dates are set one year in advance. Typically, we get together in September, December, February, April, and June. If you’ve caught the subtlety of where I started the year of get-togethers, you might guess that a number of people in the group are involved in education. September is the start of the new year for educators!! And that means that June is year end!
Our June party happened around the middle of the month, and this is typically the most casual of the get-togethers since it’s a backyard / pool party, and the start of easy, breezy times with family and friends. As a host, it’s probably the least complicated in terms of food prep. One couple brings appetizers. The hosts barbeque the main course, other couples bring salads and dessert. We hosted the June party and did Greek flavoured chicken and beef brochettes for the main meal, using this awesome marinade my brother made for us last summer. We also served Greek flavoured lemon potatoes and an interesting side dish that I’d been wanting to try for a while.
About 5 years ago, I cut a recipe out of the Boston Globe Magazine on a trip to Cape Cod for Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Grape Tomatoes that I knew I would love to try. So, five years later, I finally tried it!! It was so pretty and elevated the simple, healthy ingredients to something special, and it’s definitely doable for all home cooks! These are ingredients that I always have on hand and are presented in a way that makes everyone think you did something fancy. To me, that’s the essence of being an ‘Everyday Home Gourmet’….use simple ingredients, make them tasty, and present them in a visually interesting way! No need for fancy or complicated ingredients or cooking methods! Simple is beautiful…it’s the essence of Mediterranean cooking.
This was the first time I made this beautiful and tasty side dish, and I’ll definitely do it again! The original recipe involved roasted peppers stuffed with the uncooked tomato salad and served at room temperature. In our version, we grilled the peppers slightly, then stuffed them with the marinated tomato salad and roasted them in the oven until the tomatoes were warm and slightly blistered.
They were delicious and would be amazing as intended in the original recipe or warmed as we did. The key is to roast the peppers enough to get grill marks and the amazing roasted pepper flavour, but still keep the peppers firm enough to stuff. Also, the original recipe called for sardines, but I’m not a big fan of sardines, so I used sliced Kalamata olives instead to get the salty flavour and contrast in texture as compared to the tomatoes. This can be made ahead and is such a pretty and tasty dish that will satisfy and impress your guests! I love healthy everyday ingredients that are elevated into something special! It’s what makes the ‘everyday turn into home gourmet’….Happy cooking everyone! Experiment and be well.